Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A 1942 Memoir

It is June. Early June. Grass is a lush green, peony bushes sport full buds and a few first blooms, and rhubarb is already gone to seed.

It is morning. Seven a.m. in the morning. Sunlight breaks through tall evergreens and full-bodied deciduous trees in small patches on the mostly-shadowed rolling lawn far in the back. The small white play house trimmed with red is fully encompassed in semi-darkness as branches bow down to cover its tiny shingled roof.

I wonder if the foxes are too full grown to be out to play, or if I sit here long enough watching will I see them tumble and wrestle with one another one more time out in the open yard?

There have been no deer since winter snows at long last melted away. Spring was slow in coming this year. It was kind to give me time to somehow grasp that it truly was due to arrive.

The two ornamental fruit trees near the back window are done blooming; white and pink petals that covered the ground last week and are now blown away or disintegrated. I've watched pairs of house finches and tanagers find respite in their branches, jays and cardinals and others as well. Now the branches seem relatively empty. I'm not sure where the birds are at this point in the season. Not in these two trees.

On Memorial Day everyone gathered save my dearest Julia who is in Europe. We would love to see her, to share this home and these days with her once again, but that doesn't seem to be in the plan yet.

But the rest gathered, 39 of us plus some friends. All 23 grandchildren were here, playing ball and taking turns riding in the red wagon, wandering in and out of the playhouse and the side porch, exploring Nana's garden path and the bit of "wilderness" in the far back, building Playmobil scenes in the front room and playing games in the dining room. Simultaneously the side porch and kitchen and family room and front room housed adult conversation and laughter. We shared a fabulous spread of grilled meats and salads and beautiful desserts. We celebrated Memorial Day with recollection of the debt owed to so many. We drank deeply of the joy of family and home for which we are so thankful. Above all we gave praise to our ever faithful God and Savior.

As the day was coming to an end adults and older children gathered in the side porch for a time of discussing a realization that was in all of our hearts that day - the realization that the season we have all shared and loved here at 1942 is now also coming to an end.

What a season, what a great run it has been. How faithfully this place has served its appointed purpose for this clan, this tribe, this family and so many of our precious friends. Nonetheless it was agreed upon; there was a general consensus: it is right and good to now move on. Such sadness and so bittersweet, but so right.

All thirty-nine of us then gathered on the front porch for a group picture here at 1942, filling the deacons' bench, sitting across the front, and lining up from door to corner post. Smiling and singing "cheese" in crazy tunes for minutes on end, we posed while a friend snapped photo after photo. Will this be the last time? That was the unspoken question that we all wondered. Will this be the last time this group of people is all together here at this home we've loved so well? And we kind of assumed it probably was. We smiled and laughed and enjoyed the moment.

The reality is that we are but pilgrims. Yes, this home was wonderful and precious to us all. Very much so. Nurturing and all it entails (the pain of growing, the thrill of learning, and the joy of loving) happened here, day in and day out, since January of 1984 when it became our own. This home has been shaped by us, and it has shaped us in return. Homes are like that. You reap what you sow.

1942 (previously 46 Main). We love you and the memories of times shared. The people, the experiences - history and lit classes culminating with displays of the Titanic and Mark Twain and medieval times and Civil War and the American Revolution, college barbecues with countless new faces and friendships to be discovered, shared Christmas Eves and Christmas Days and Easters, backyard wedding showers and birthday celebrations, Pumpkin Field football, hours of Playmobil and favorite movie watching by candlelight, Christmas parties all aglow, piano lessons and Dixie Chicks in the music room, shenanigans in bedrooms at bedtimes and all times - this is all part of life at 1942. It will be terribly missed.

And now? Now it is time to shape new homes - other homes, multiplied homes - homes that will in turn continue to shape us and those we love. May Jesus be the center of them all. Always.